Mission to Mars simluation begins

Mock Mission to MarsWould you lock yourself up with 5 other people in a pod for $6500 per month? Pays more than the participants on Big Brother, mind you and there are cameras watching you, but it's not what you might think.

The Russian space program is conducting an experiment to see the psychological effects of a mission to Mars. They are starting with 6 volunteer astronauts who will be isolated in the pod (see photo) for 105 days doing experiments and performing tasks as if they were on a real mission. If this goes well (i.e. no murders, no crazies) then another, longer 520 day mock mission is planned.

From a psychology perspective, this is a very necessary experiment. Martin Zell, Head of the ISS Utilization Department in ESA's Directorate of Human Spaceflight, explains: "It is of paramount importance to understand the psychological and physiological effects of long-duration confinement, to be able to prepare the crews in the best way possible and to learn about important aspects of the vehicle design. To contribute to their psychological wellbeing and long-term performance, we need to learn how to support the crew with optimum nutrition, artificial light, appropriate medical countermeasures and also planned and off-nominal task management."

Makes sense, of course. But could you stand it? No windows, no family or friends, just the 6 people around you... {shivers}

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